Alaska’s Heart Through Student Art 2022

Three pieces of student art on a table with silent auction bid forms in front.This spring, Alaska’s Heart Through Student Art, the statewide celebration and auction of student art from all 54 school districts, made its in-person return to the Andrew P. Kashevaroff State Museum. Once again legislators, statewide educational leaders, teachers, and student artists were able to celebrate student artists together.

This is the 7th year that Alaska Council for School Administrators has sponsored the event, collecting art nominated from all over Alaska. Schools shipped pieces to Juneau where ACSA staff and volunteers from the Alaska Arts Education Consortium set up the pieces for display. To kick it all off, ACSA sponsored a reception, bringing educators, administrators and legislators together. Continue reading Alaska’s Heart Through Student Art 2022

‘Slow Looking’ by Nancy Lehnhart at Juneau School District

In my work as the Elementary Visual Art Specialist for the Juneau School District I have for years puzzled about art being an avenue for complex thinking for students. For the last six years, I’ve been very involved with a grant-funded PD project in the Juneau School District called Artful Teaching. We have a large cohort of teachers learning together through workshops and small collegiate study groups called “Art Labs.” We are exploring arts integration and culturally responsive teaching. One of the areas of learning for us has been through Project Zero Harvard and their Visible Thinking routines and practices. I’m experimenting all the time now with how to deepen thinking through art. The following shares a project around students’ school environments. 

Continue reading ‘Slow Looking’ by Nancy Lehnhart at Juneau School District

Alaskan Student Filmmakers Produce “Atmautluak, AK: Our Village Our Home”

Students in the Lower Kuskokwim School District village of Atmautluak, produced this film as part of the GEAR UP Program at the Joann A. Alexie Memorial School. GEAR UP in LKSD includes: drone pilot certification, filmmaking, culinary institutes, tutoring and college readiness activities. GEAR UP liaison, Jeffery Behelsich supported students as they scripted, planned, interviewed, flew drones, filmed, and edited this introduction to Atmautluak.

The Rural Alaska GEAR UP Partnership is a collaboration between Bering Strait School District, Lower Kuskokwim School District, the University of Alaska, Yuut Elitnaurviat and Alaska Staff Development Network (ASDN) designed to address the needs of students in 37 villages in western Alaska.

‘Wrangell HS Makes the Vans High School Custom Culture Art Program Top 50: You Can Help Their Project Win’ by ACSA Staff

To be awarded the $50,000 grant, the students need your support. The finalists of the competition are selected by vote. You can cast one vote per day until May 6th, by following this link. https://customculture.vans.com/2022/gallery

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To inspire creativity and bring attention to diminishing arts education budgets, Vans Shoes, created the Vans High School Custom Culture Art Program.

Continue reading ‘Wrangell HS Makes the Vans High School Custom Culture Art Program Top 50: You Can Help Their Project Win’ by ACSA Staff

‘Fronteras Spanish Immersion Charter School Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month’ by Principal Jennifer Schmidt-Hutchins

In September and October of each school year, Fronteras Spanish Immersion Charter School students and staff research, study, and present the history, culture, and contributions of our ancestors from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. President Lyndon B. Johnson introduced this observation in 1968. It was expanded to a 30-day period by President Ronald Reagan starting September 15th and concluding October 15th.

Fronteras Charter School students celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month each year in September and October.

Continue reading ‘Fronteras Spanish Immersion Charter School Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month’ by Principal Jennifer Schmidt-Hutchins

‘The Art of Thriving as a Transplant Teacher’ by Angie Busch Alston

I never could have predicted that my teaching life would include arranging demonstrations involving marine mammals and holding my students inside because of polar bear warnings, but that’s exactly what happened.

My name is Angie. I teach high school in Brevig Mission, an Inupiaq village in the Bering Strait School District.

Brevig Mission, Alaska

It’s 2021, and I love my life in the village and my job at the school. I’ve gone from never having butchered a single animal to being able to make heart and tongue soup. I’m raising a daughter who can spot a berry patch from a distance and gets it right every time. Last year’s senior class had been in my class since sixth grade. There was a lot of growth in those years, and I got to witness it all. Continue reading ‘The Art of Thriving as a Transplant Teacher’ by Angie Busch Alston

‘LKSD Creates Curriculum to Revitalize Yup’ik Language and Culture’ by Noelle Dersé

For the Lower Kuskokwim School District (LKSD), staying local isn’t just a mandate during the pandemic — it’s a long term strategy for learning. Recognizing the need for language resources to boost proficiency in the Yup’ik language, as well as a desire for curriculum that students could relate to, the LKSD administration embarked on a multi-year project to create K-12 social studies and science curriculum that addresses both these needs.

With funds and direction from the Quyurramta (“All of Us Together”) grant from the U.S. Education Department’s Alaska Native Education Program, LKSD set out to translate existing texts (with generous permission from TCI publishers) into Yugtun, the Yup’ik language. Continue reading ‘LKSD Creates Curriculum to Revitalize Yup’ik Language and Culture’ by Noelle Dersé

‘My Passion: Creating Educational Resources that Celebrate Alaska Native Culture and Language’ by Raquel Schroeder

My name is Raquel Schroeder. I’m Bristol Bay Yup’ik and St. Lawrence Island Yupik with family ties in Bristol Bay and the Bering Strait. I’m a member of the Curyung Tribe and a Shareholder of the Bristol Bay Native Corporation.

I was born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska and graduated from high school in 2010. I went to Wenatchee Valley College in Washington State and Iḷisaġvik Tribal College in Utqiaġvik, Alaska, where I earned a certificate in Early Childhood Indigenous Education. In this program, I learned the importance of culturally-responsive practices and the need for preservation of Indigenous cultures and languages.

I developed an interest in creating projects with art, design and technology that focus on Alaska Native cultures, languages and land. This is important to me because, as a mother and educator, I found there aren’t many easily-accessible resources that reflect the beauty of Alaska’s land and Indigenous peoples. With a lack of resources that reflect students’ environments, it can be difficult for them to find identity in learning, which may lead to social and academic issues in the long run. My goal is to celebrate and represent every student in the educational resources I create. Continue reading ‘My Passion: Creating Educational Resources that Celebrate Alaska Native Culture and Language’ by Raquel Schroeder

‘Engaging Students in a Virtual Environment’ by Principal Robin Jones

As the Principal of Chief Ivan Blunka School in the Southwest Region School District, I want to showcase one unique way that we are engaging students in a virtual environment in New Stuyahok, Alaska. I was born and raised in Alaska, and I have always been very connected to the land and its’ resources.  I actively participate in subsistence activities to harvest fish, game, and edible plants, and my chief goal as a principal is to help my students and staff connect to the traditional way of life in a meaningful way.One opportunity we have had while in the red risk level where students are participating in distance learning is facilitating a way for them to connect through Subsistence Bingo.

Continue reading ‘Engaging Students in a Virtual Environment’ by Principal Robin Jones

‘The Importance of an Origin Story for our School’s Community’ by Arctic Light Elementary Principal Thad Keener

Arctic Light Elementary School is a K-8 public school in the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District. It is unique in that it is the only public school located on the Fort Wainwright Army U.S. Base. The school mascot is the Arctic Fox.

This year we are sharing our school mascot’s origin story. Arty the Arctic Fox is our mascot and, “Do Good Work, Be a Friend, Every Day” is our motto. With our students we have expanded these words and we were ready for this book to extend the learning. Continue reading ‘The Importance of an Origin Story for our School’s Community’ by Arctic Light Elementary Principal Thad Keener